Music-News.com, 13 Oct 2013, Claudia A
Forget about the latest autumn 2013 trends, for THE must-have accessory this season is a Mockingbird. Or perhaps a diamond ring and a looking glass, too. Well, it is according to Pete Ross and The Sapphire. Wear that bird as a replica brooch, or better still, get the awesome new single. As a bonus, the B-side song is the equally awesome Down To The Woods.
By now, attentive Music-News readers should be acquainted with Pete Ross & The Sapphire (aka Susy Sapphire). I spent enough time singing the praises (or penning them, rather) of this talented duo which hail from Australia and New Zealand respectively, but somehow ended up living in Milan of all places.
Their rather dark and most excellent debut album ‘Rollin Down The Lane’ (guess who reviewed it…) promised great things will follow, and the latest single release sure enough don’t disappoint, folks!
A-side ‘Mockingbird’ is a bold and rocking rework of the traditional American lullaby. Who doesn’t know the opening lines “Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird”… Pete and Susy, however, gave this an edgy makeover, complete with strumming guitars and bass. The ‘from lullaby to upbeat rockaby’ transformation is emphasised courtesy of Manuele Scalia’s electric guitar twangs, while Susy’s additional backing vocals set a contrasting softer nuance.
Don’t mention the obvious, I hear you say. Such as in, “kill a bird with two stones”. Heavens no! The bird is still alive and mocking, err, rocking I would like to think.
But we do get a second offering, in the form of B-side ‘Down To The Woods’.
Just as interesting, and here, Pete and Susy opted to turn a lullaby into some sort of anti-lullaby if you will. Bang on time for the spooky season, this nightmarish musical excursion with nods to the Brothers Grimm and Donnie Darko starts out innocently enough. The barely there tap tap of a xylophone immediately lures us into a fantasy world, before Pete’s distinctive broody voice warns of the dangers of talking to strangers, and losing your way in the deep woods… because we can’t be certain of the things we might see. Or don’t see.
At that point, guitars chords ring through as subtle as the xylophone taps, and Susy joins in the melodious chorus, bewitchingly concluding that “sometimes you’re so startled, no words can soothe you.”
It’s as harmonious and as catchy a ballad as you’d come to expect from those talented two songbirds. The lot is rounded up by additional key effects, and drums and percussion by Alessio Russo.
It’s also nice to know that the duo always manage to add originality to their songs, and if you want to know just how original, then check out the video for ‘Down To The Woods’ on YouTube.
Both songs are real cool to listen to, though in my humble opinion it’s the B-side which deserves to be the A-side.